Reincarnation: the 35 steps of soul evolution

35 Steps

According to many spiritual teachers, all human beings are, in reality, spiritual beings on a human journey. We reincarnate as human beings in order to evolve as souls.

Our ultimate aim is to become fully conscious and capable as unique individual expressions of All That Is.

It is a long journey, but that’s okay because the soul is eternal.

Soul Evolution

The soul’s journey is really a process of evolving. This means growing in consciousness, steadily progressing through different levels or stages of consciousness.

How do we grow in consciousness? Through taking on challenging experiences in physical form. These cause us to make important, “soul-searching” choices and call upon us to discover our inner resources.

But why in physical form? Why would a perfectly happy spiritual being decide to inhabit the physical realm with all of its limitations and difficulties?

It is precisely so that we can experience the state of what feels like total separation from others and from the rest of reality. Only by going into this physically separated human form can we know ourselves as beings in our own right, and not just as … well … undifferentiated blobs of energy. Being physical throws our experiences and choices into extremely sharp relief in a way that is not possible otherwise. This is how we learn who we are and how to become all that we are.

In other words:

Choice and the ramifications of choice provide the essential lessons of life. In a very real sense, you choose to be here in order to make choices.

Messages from Michael

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The 35 Steps

We are here to know ourselves and be all we can be, step by step. And according to the teachings of the entity known as Michael, there are 35 steps to the reincarnational process. The body and personality you have now are merely the vehicles you have chosen for this latest step in your journey.

But why 35 steps? Why not 36 steps? Or 10? Or 100?

It is simply because, according to Michael, we go through five major stages of evolution through reincarnation. And, within each stage there are seven increments or levels to be completed. (Yes, it is rather like a computer game.)

5 x 7 = 35.

35 steps

Each single step requires a whole lifetime to complete. In fact, each step usually requires more than one lifetime. Typically, the entire journey of 35 steps takes well over a hundred lifetimes.

So let’s look at the journey in more detail. We’ll start with the five major stages of soul evolution through reincarnation.

The Five Stages

The Michael teachings describe a sequence of five “cycles” or stages of soul evolution. They are named after the stages of human development:

Each of these five corresponds to a specific level of development in capability and self-awareness within the individual soul. As the soul goes through each stage, the focus changes, more experience is gained, and consciousness expands.

Michael Newton

Incidentally, the same pattern of soul evolution has been identified by the hypnotherapist Michael Newton (right). His groundbreaking research was published in the best-selling book Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives (Llewellyn, 1994).

The books by Newton and his students draw upon thousands of transcripts of people who, under hypnotic regression, have re-experienced being between lives. From the higher perspective of their soul they are able to explain what happens after death and before birth. This includes information about the levels of consciousness through which reincarnating souls evolve.

What Newton and others have discovered is that souls between lives exist in light-form, and that each soul emanates a particular colour of the spectrum which indicates its current level of consciousness.

The spectrum begins at white (all colours) but then goes through red, yellow, green, blue, to deep purple and violet. From low frequency to high frequency. The least evolved souls — the “newbies” — have a pinkish hue. The oldest souls — those nearing the end of the whole reincarnational cycle — have a blueish hue.

Although the spectrum is a continuum, Dr. Newton has found that it can be divided into five distinct stages or levels of evolvement, from Level I to Level V. These can be mapped onto the five stages given in the Michael teachings, from Infant soul to Old soul.

So, for example, souls in the middle (or third) stage of reincarnation are referred to as “Young souls” in the Michael teachings and they are at what Newton would call “Level III”. They will have a yellowish or golden hue.

(As an aside, both Newton and the Michael entity also identify higher levels of soul evolution which do not involve reincarnation.)

The stages of reincarnation (or soul age) can also be likened to the stages of metamorphosis we see in nature, such as egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly. In reincarnation, though, what changes is not the physical form but the mode of consciousness, especially the form of self-awareness and — as a result — the way of relating to others.

A d v e r t i s e m e n t


Soul age characteristics

Soul age affects how an individual lives, thinks, acts, and comes across to others.

Stage 1 — Infant Souls

Infant souls focus on immediate survival needs. They flourish in simple environments close to nature, such as remote tribes or rural, pastoral settings.

In the context of modern society, however, they can come across as uncivilised simpletons or yokels, and may even be deemed to be psychopathic or have some sort of developmental disorder.

Psychologically, infant souls are naive, impulsive and “pre-conventional”, acting on impulse or habit with little or no thought for consequences.

Because they lack both social understanding and self-inhibition, they are capable of committing antisocial or immoral acts without any sense of wrongdoing. As such, they do not fit well within modern society and may end up in prison or in psychiatric units.

While they may lack the moral principles, social graces and cultural understanding of older souls, Infant souls are in a sense completely innocent, being without pretense or agenda.

Stage 2 — Baby Souls

In contrast to Infant souls, Baby souls think a great deal about the rights and wrongs of their actions. Their lives are about safety, security, structure and order — rigidly so. They like to live in communities that are highly principled and “civilized” (think of the Amish).

Baby souls come across to older souls as rather “square” – strictly conventional and conformist. Both their beliefs and their actions are largely rule-bound, so they are often ultra-conservative, traditionalist, orthodox, upright, moralistic, religiously devout, and mindful of law and order.

That said, they will occasionally give in to temptation, or temper tantrum, and break the rules themselves — but then might find themselves tortured with guilt and shame.

They are acutely aware of the rights and wrongs of people’s actions, including their own, though they have little insight into the motives behind them. Bad behaviour is sinful, and that’s that.

Stage 3 — Young Souls

Young souls tend to be extravert, outward-bound, worldly, frenetically energetic, brash, competitive, political, ambitious and individualistic. Life at this stage is about thinking for oneself and asserting oneself as an individual.

Young souls are more ego-driven than others, keen to make their mark in the world. They are generally attracted to some form of worldly success — fame, fortune, power, glory. In fact, they are more fearful of death than souls at other stages, and those who aren’t sure about life after death may be anxious to make a big impact on the world stage, to create some kind of symbolic immortality for themselves.

Young souls cling to their own opinions, with a certainty that their own perspective is the right perspective, and their way ahead is by far the best way. They are very aware of their own agenda but do not really question it.

Stage 4 Mature souls

Mature - woman

Mature souls tend to be more reflective than younger souls, with a growing understanding of self, growing empathy for others, and a desire for authenticity in both. Life is less about proving oneself, and more about exploring “right relationship”.

Mature soul consciousness is no longer egocentric, in the sense of being limited to one’s own perspective and agenda, but is capable of accommodating multiple perspectives and different agendas. In fact, there is now a tension between “what I want” and “appreciating what you want,” or between the personal and the interpersonal.

This makes life much more complicated — sometimes overwhelmingly so. On the one hand, mature souls reject narrow-minded values. Yet on the other hand, they are able to empathise with whoever holds those same values. Fixed opinions are replaced by a sense of ever-shifting perspectives — “It all depends on how you look at it”.

This disappearance of solid ground can be hugely stressful, but it kicks off a search for deeper meaning and self-understanding, whether through art, psychology, philosophy or spirituality.

Mature souls tend to question everything, including their own motives, and are prone to do a lot of soul-searching (literally).

Stage 5 — Old Souls

mooji 140

Old souls tend to exude some degree of depth, gravitas or wisdom that is quite obvious. In children, it can be most striking (think: old head on young shoulders) For having moved beyond the stresses and conflicts of the Mature soul, Old souls have a growing sense of inner peace and freedom — the freedom to enjoy being very much in the world, but not of it.

Compared to younger souls they are relatively calm, measured, untroubled and stable, unattached to social structures and cultural expectations, being sure of their own existence and inner strengths and their compassion for others.

On the other hand, finding themselves in a world that is so conflicted, chaotic, frantic, and superficial can be utterly depressing.

For Old souls, the aim of life is to find true self-expression and fulfillment. As such, they tend to go their own unique way in life, letting go and letting be, in a detached way that may seem very weird and eccentric to younger souls.

Late-stage old souls find themselves consciously participating in the evolution of all-that-is, and often focus on teaching spiritual wisdom with great compassion.

Note: These descriptions emphasise the differences between stages. In reality, though, there is a gradual blend from one stage to the next. A person at the start of the Mature stage, for example, will act mostly like a Young soul but with elements of Mature soul nature beginning to emerge.

The lessons of each stage

Here are the five stages of soul evolution through human reincarnation, together with the typical learning experiences associated with each stage:

soul age focus 2 450

So we begin reincarnating as Infant souls, complete novices at physical existence. At this first stage we are largely in a state of incompetence and terror, frankly. But through experiences and choices we learn and grow. We steadily progress from being Infant souls to Baby souls to Young souls to Mature souls. Finally, we enter the fifth stage as accomplished Old souls, the experts of human existence.

As infant souls we learned about choices having to do with survival, as baby souls choices having to do with moral codes and ethics, as young souls choices having to do with mastery of achievement, as mature souls choices having to do with relationships, and as old souls choices having to do with the nature of oneness with the Tao. An infant soul would therefore not understand the choices of an old soul although an older soul would likely have more understanding of the nature of younger soul choice having had them.

Michael, via Victoria Marina

To look at each stage in more detail see:

Stage 1. The Infant Soul

Stage 2. The Baby Soul

Stage 3. The Young Soul

Stage 4. The Mature Soul

Stage 5. The Old Soul

Soul levels in the human population

The six or seven billion people on the planet span the whole range of stages, but the average is said to be somewhere just past the mid-point of stage 3 (see chart below). In other words, this world is currently dominated by Young souls whose primary focus is competitive self-advancement.

The seven steps within each stage

Within each stage there are seven discrete steps to go through. In the Michael teachings, they are called “levels”, so in each stage we proceed from 1st level to 7th level. Calling these “levels” can be a bit confusing (since Newton refers to the five major stages as “levels”), so I sometimes prefer to call them “steps”.

So each stage of reincarnation has seven distinct learning steps. For example, we begin the whole journey at step 1 as Infant souls, learn that lesson, then undertake step 2 as Infant souls, and so on. On completing the 7th step of the Infant stage, we then begin the 1st step of the Baby stage.

35 steps

The early steps in any stage are about experiencing life at this new stage of evolution, learning the essential lessons through appropriate experiences.

The later steps are about expressing those lessons, demonstrating this level of consciousness in action.

For example, in the Young soul stage, the first three steps — from 1st level Young soul to 3rd level Young soul — are about discovering the meaning of free will and self-determination; the last three steps — 5th level Young soul to 7th level Young soul — are about demonstrating the meaning of free will and self-determination in action. (The middle step — 4th level Young soul — is about consolidating the lessons learned.)

The first step or level of any stage is like putting a toe in the water; the final step is like teaching others how to swim:

1st Level Initiation into the new stage. “Toe in the water.” First glimpses of the new consciousness. We come to recognise that there is a whole new way of being ahead of us, and we respond to the call, even though as yet it is beyond our comprehension.
2nd Level Building foundations. Wading in and out. Comparing and contrasting the old and new consciousness. We come to understand what is essential and different about this higher level, though it still remains ‘ahead’ of us, not quite within us.
3rd Level Rising to the challenge. Taking the plunge. We determinedly commit ourselves to actively embrace and explore the new consciousness.
4th Level Integration. Relaxing into it, “enjoying the water.” We now identify ourselves with this way of understanding self, life and others – this is our truth. We fully incorporate and consolidate the new consciousness into our own being.
5th Level Expression. Splashing about – “Look at me!” We openly share and communicate our new, true sense of self and of life’s meaning. We feel drawn to broadcast our truth, to “go public” with it.
6th Level Demonstration. Giving value and benefit to others. “Being a life guard.” Our new consciousness is put to the test. We also burn off any outstanding karma incurred in the earlier steps of this stage.
7th Level Mastery. Peak performance. We have complete understanding and control of our awareness at this level. We know exactly what we are doing. We may feel like a role model. Hmm… What’s next?

This sequence of seven steps is repeated through each stage, making 35 steps in all from the beginning of reincarnation to the end.

In case you’re wondering, I’m at the 5th level of the Mature soul stage. My current life’s lesson is about outwardly expressing my Mature soul consciousness.

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Many lives

So, we start our evolutionary journey at level 1 of stage I (as “1st Level Infant souls”) and end it at level 7 of stage 5 (as “7th Level Old souls”).

There are 35 steps in all. And each single step requires at least one lifetime to complete.

A single step can be done in one lifetime but often that’s too big a stretch, so an initial life may undertaken as a taster, followed by one or two more which really go for it.

Sometimes a life is interrupted, and the soul will just have to start over in the next life. Also, some lives are undertaken for reasons other than the specific intent to develop. For example, one lifetime might be undertaken primarily to assist another soul in their development. And some lives are taken on primarily for the death experience, for karmic reasons. These can be very short, of the order of days, weeks or months.

Taking into account all the gaps spent in the non-physical state between lives, a single step is typically accomplished in about 100-300 years of Earth time.

The whole journey of 35 steps usually takes well over 100 lifetimes. Hence, the whole journey is likely to take of the order of 7,000-8,000 years, but possibly a lot more if the population is low and opportunities to incarnate are few.

Questions and Answers

Coming back again and again sounds dreadful. Why don’t we just give up and be done with it? Can’t I just decide that this is my last time?

You cannot skip any of the steps, nor would you want to (from the soul’s perspective). You wouldn’t rent a movie but then skip to the final credits just to avoid the whole process of sitting through the movie. In fact, it’s more like a computer game. You are playing the game because you want to, and at some level you actually love it. And you know perfectly well that you need to master one level before you can move on to the next level. That’s what the game is all about.

Who says?

There’s no tyrannical deity controlling the game, forcing you to keep at it, deciding who gets to “graduate” and who doesn’t. It’s just the natural dynamic of life and the evolution of consciousness. A tadpole cannot suddenly transform into a full-grown frog. A baby human cannot suddenly take on a professional career or family responsibilities. There’s a natural, inevitable sequence to go through. And we’ve all signed up for it.

But why? What’s it all about?

Well, at the level of spirit or essence, all is one, all is love, all is joy. This is all very nice, but consciousness longs to experience more and more of what there is to experience, the utter richness and fullness of life.

How does it do that?

By fragmenting into zillions of conscious entities, each of whom has its own experiences and perspective, and each of whom can make its own choices about what to experience. Any soul can choose to continue being submerged in all-that-is, albeit with little sense of self. Alternatively, any soul can choose to undergo the experience of life in a separate physical form, interacting with other souls in their own physical forms. This is the ultimate way to experience oneself as a self.

And that’s why we are here?

We have all made this choice: to use the human form as a vehicle to help us become more conscious of ourselves as the amazing beings we are. The aim is to experience every possible experience that enables us to emerge more and more consciously and fearlessly as ourselves. We begin as helpless infants for whom the experience of separate existence is quite terrifying. But we end as autonomous, self-realised beings for whom human existence is the most amazing way of being, feeling joyful and free and sharing love with the whole of life.

More frequently asked questions

More on Soul Evolution

Books

The Michael Handbook  by José Stevens and Simon Warwick-Smith

[Amazon]

Sojourn: Karma, Reincarnation, and the Evolution of the Soul  by Gina Lake

[Amazon]

Journey of Souls: Case Studies of Life Between Lives  by Michael Newton

[Amazon]

See also:

PersonalitySpirituality.net

1,123 thoughts on “Reincarnation: the 35 steps of soul evolution

  1. Greetings Alex,

    I think Ama’s comments were succinct when it comes to your described “possession.” I’ve been given a wealth of food for thought and information from Barry, Ken and Ama as well as others that have shared their experiences and thoughts here. I don’t comment much because people like Barry, Ken and Ama are so thorough and frankly spot on in their commentary. I would take a moment here to thank them for their great contribution to us all, thanks you guys! Since you are open to more experience, I would suggest you go back through the archives to find some incredible eye opening information shared over an extensive period of time.

    You describe that you experienced your “awakening a year ago” by definition awakening would imply the experience of being awake is on-going. It just sounds like you feel your initial “self realization” is a point of accomplishment, though it is a powerful experience to awaken, it is, as Ama suggests “It is not inevitable, as if you have no choice in the matter, it is based in how you deal with the world, yourself, and every other living person, on a day-to-day basis.” Being awake gives you opportunity to keep evolving and maturing your soul. There is a wealth of amazing information you can use to help shape your experience. From Yogananda, Michael Newtons, Journey of Souls and Destiny of Souls, Robert Schwartz – Your soul’s plan. Tolle’s Power of Now, the Tao Te Ching on and on… Newton’s Journey of Soul’s is based on thousands of clinical study of his patients sharing their “lives between lives.”

    As Ama mentioned you chose your birth sign and further you chose the body in which you incarnated. All of this was your starting point in this life so that you (your soul/higher self) may experience particular things. In particular we chose to reincarnate to balance our karma and most of all we are truly here as part and parcel of the Source to experience itself.

    The keys are to live this life like everything that happens was your choice. Even the greatest tragedies hold within them a greater good, all the “travesties” are part of the big picture and actually highlight the good and regardless of how they hurt we will have to find a way to accept. Perhaps your lack of feeling means on some level you know that all serves a greater good and everything will be all right. Without the dark there would be no light. Most if not all great spiritual teachers tell us to “Love all that arises.”

    You have awakened and what you awakened to is that you came here to evolve your soul. To me the two greatest questions one can ask are; who am I and what is my life’s purpose? The answer is, YOU ARE IT and your life’s purpose is to live in the present moment, this is the art of Being. I always caution people to be careful not to make spirituality your “story” and a replacement for your old story. All we have to do is realize the thoughts in our head are not necessarily who we are. Fill it all with love. We can experience the beauty of all that surrounds us and remember that negativity is just louder and if we choose we can use it to highlight all the good. We just gotta keep coming back to the value of just living in the present moment.

    Great blessings to you,

    Wes

    • Thank you for commenting 🙂

      I love researching different spiritual practices and experiencing things that reaffirm my beliefs but I guess it is important to ground myself. Sometimes the reality of all of this hits me and I begin to adopt an apathetic outlook on life. What do you do to keep yourself grounded while staying enthusiastic about life? I am not suicidal or anything I just find myself saying “what’s the point?”

    • I would say that finding your own reasons to be enthusiastic would be the point. There is no universal purpose other than to find joy in being, and there are infinitely many ways to enjoy being. Exploring the best of what life has to offer you, and the best of what you can offer others. Apathy sets in when something that used to drive us no longer holds meaning because we’ve grown up a bit and seen through it. We set aside false motivations and find our own true inspiration.

  2. Hello again Alex D,

    I would be interested to know your experience of your spiritual awakening. Wes’ comments about self-realisation might be a better description? I don’t actually remember an ‘aha!’ moment in my early life, but when the angels first came and talked to me there were about three weeks worth all at once. 🙂 I was 35 at the time.

    The intense moments of ‘oneness’ can be fleeting, and may fade over time, but that is normal too. We are supposed to focus on living this lifetime, in the moment, day by day, and not have our heads in the clouds chasing angels and ‘enlightenment’ .. in the long run, we are already enlightened, we are simply enjoying periods of wearing ‘blinkers’ blocking parts of our belief system, so that we learn from the lessons of karma, perhaps by reliving certain events, rather than just going ‘I recognise that bit, now I ‘forgive’ and move on’, which is great in many cases, but can sometimes be more like lip-service, and then have the events come up and smack you in the back of the head afterwards, when we repeat a lesson we should have looked more deeply into.

    I remember the headaches. When we are not totally in control of our spiritual energy we can expand rapidly, contract rapidly, and mess up our energy. It can be called ‘burnt out’ .. and it too is a lesson. There’s a strong one in not forcing your kundalini energy to rise early – that can do real damage (that’s the energy that travels up your spine). What do you actually do when you get that feeling of ‘oneness’, apart from sit in awe, and are there particular times you experience it, such as during meditation? Perhaps one of your life lessons is to learn to control your energy output under all circumstances – which can mean you are capable of losing your temper quite frequently, and not always for logical reasons.

    I’ll quote Wes here: “The keys are to live this life like everything that happens was your choice. Even the greatest tragedies hold within them a greater good, all the “travesties” are part of the big picture and actually highlight the good and regardless of how they hurt we will have to find a way to accept.” – And learning to “Love Anyway” all people, regardless of their behaviour towards you, can be an incredible challenge, but perhaps if we all did this, the world would not now be fast sinking into ‘hell’.

    Becoming the “I AM” is not an ego ride. The greatest compliment we can pay one another is “I am You” .. to walk in another’s shoes and see the world as if through their eyes. I am presently pondering an odd event, that supposedly happened on the 20th June, the day before my 54th birthday, where everyone on the planet, because of some cosmic alignment, was suddenly supposed to be ascended to 5th dimensional energy .. and straight into the heart of peace. For those people already on the 5th, they were going to the 12th dimensional energy. Instead, the day after, which was my birthday, the world fell into worse chaos, which continues to escalate .. as if we had somehow gone into cascade failure? And the person who channelled this wonderful message of ‘profound change’ … I wonder how s/he feels now? If we spend a lot of time saying ‘everything will be allright’, but don’t make our own effort to make things ‘allright’ for ourselves and those around us, we end up lost .. we are not going to be rescued by any aliens this time, or God .. we, as mature spiritual beings having a brief physical lifetime, are more than capable of rescuing ourselves – so why don’t we?

    When the numbness of your spiritual awakening wears off, and it will, you’ll fall back into old patterns, but perhaps, with a wiser head now, you will see the patterns and not repeat the behaviours that encourage them .. then you will begin to feel enlightened, if only from moment to moment. But do remember .. one of my favourite phrases “before Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water; after Enlightenment, chop wood, carry water”. I shall now go and put some chopped wood on the fire (its winter here in Australia), but my husband did the chopping .. perhaps he is the enlightened one and I am only dancing in the shadows, or do we take turns. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the amazing insight you guys.

    I think (because I am not sure) my spiritual awakening was ‘triggered’ by me giving advice to one of my classmates. I noticed that he agreed with almost anything because he desperately wanted to be liked by people. I saw myself in him and opened up about me having low self esteem in high school and eventually learning how to love myself enough to not need validation from others. I saw the aha moment in his eyes and continued my work. A couple of minutes later I found myself looking around at my other classmates while thinking to myself “I love everybody”. I even felt unconditional love towards my professor who I thought was an asshole at the time.

    I went home and stayed up all night reading about new age philosophy until it was time for class. As I was sitting in my car researching the signs of a spiritual awakening on my phone I heard a voice tell me to “go that way”. I walked in the direction he/I told me to go and met up with an old friend that I haven’t spoken to in a long time. After I got that friend’s number I went on to have the best day of my life. In one of my classes I thought about a girl who had a crush on me back in high school but, because of the self esteem issues, I dismissed all of the signs. As I walked to my next class I ran into her. Apparently she ended up going to the same college as me. A lot of interesting things happened that day but I can summarize it as the day I realized I loved everything.

    To answer your second question Ama when I get that feeling of ‘oneness’ I usually end up sitting outside and listening to my surroundings. It’s like I can hear everything around me with extreme clarity. I also find that my eyes naturally lower; it’s similar to being high on marijuana. It’s very difficult for me to put into words.

    Until I watched Matt Kahn’s videos my spiritual journey consisted of me chasing the feeling I had on that day. It is analogous to a drug addict chasing his first high. Now I just meditate once a day and look out for opportunities to perform “random” acts of kindness. Fortunately for me, being nice to everyone isn’t that difficult. I grew up with a mother that was emotionally abusive so I’ve learned that the best way to deal with someone who comes at you with negativity and anger is to be so calm and collected that they end up matching your energy.

    Thanks again 🙂

  4. Hello Alex,

    Grounding is an actual process of connecting yourself between earth and ‘heaven’. I also think of it as ‘keeping myself real’. The continuing weird and unusual events of my life are only part of who I am. Right now the ‘expert in the paranormal, spiritual & metaphysical teacher’ (me) is about to run for a Shire Councillor position in the election in October. I am on various committees to benefit others. I keep contact with friends and family, some of whom only know me as Ama Cooke (my married name) and do not share my understanding of the world or Spirit.

    I apply the principles I live by “love one another” and “I shall do no harm” to every facet of my life, even in times of great personal trial. Even when I am angry or heartbroken and struggle to cope with both emotions.

    As I watch the heartbreaking events on the News, seeing people struggle in war torn countries, not just because of their own countrymen (and women) but also because of invading forces from various countries, including my own, I ask myself ‘where is the love’ and grieve for humanity in its entirety .. because each of those people is Myself in some form ..

    And then I go outside into the world through my doorway and I try to do good for others, inspire people, try to make my small part of the world a better place. Perhaps if each of us did that, instead of focusing on the incredible negativity (fostered so willingly by many media outlets) we might make the profound changes for the good that I know humanity is capable of.

    The point for me is that I chose to live this life, at this time, during this struggle to express our true selves .. and the only way I can do that is be the best person I can be .. whether I end up flat on my face or not. We have to take the chance to live .. so when I feel down about something, I go and do some physical activity .. like gardening (oh my garden .. we have had so much rain we are sloshing and the weeds have taken over .. in a sense we are surrounded by clover (literally) .. but the rains will stop again (not soon I hope, since the farmers need it right now) and I’ll be back out there hunting for beauty among the bright green leaves .. perhaps I’ll find a ‘four leaf clover’ and make a wish for peace for the world, again.

    As strange as that might sound, I am not an optimist – I am a realist. In a world gone mad, the only way we can save it is to change ourselves for the better .. so don’t let yourself get ‘down’ if you can help it. Instead focus on the good you can do today, which is in front of you, and find happiness in it. It might take a bit of practice, but we can all do it when we try, even if we have to get a little medication to help (if a person suffers from a mental disorder).

    Love & Peace
    Ama

  5. Greetings again Alex,

    In answer to your question I wanted to offer you some things that work for me. I know you meant staying grounded referring to staying balanced emotionally but as Ama mentioned it is also a method of connection to the Earth through grounding. Grounding can be physically done by taking your shoes and socks off and connect to the Earth by standing on the grass, sand, dirt…you can literally wrap your arms around a tree. Sounds odd but grounding connects you to the Earth and opens you to the entire Cosmos. Conversely when you meditate that should be done without grounding as the magnetic pull can interfere.

    All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present. Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry are all forms of fear and are caused by too much future and not enough presence. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness are all forms of non forgiveness and are caused by too much past and again not enough presence. All artists whether they know it or not, create from a place of “no-mind”, from inner stillness. This gift is from our ability that we tap into staying in the present or the very Now. We often have forgotten what the plants, trees, rocks and animals know – living in the actual moment without thought of the future or carrying a burden of the past.

    We all admire and aspire to “live in the moment” but most of us only getting fleeting moments over an entire lifetime! When we are playing music, engrossed in sport, making love, skiing down a mountain…we feel the most alive because the mind has been quieted and we have let go, we are deeply in the moment. I think our main goal in life is or should be to practice the art of Being. This is accomplished through self observation. When the negative thoughts described above arise we can view them like an impartial observer, hmmm…why do I feel this way? How did this thought get there? And who created it? The answer is of course YOU! It is caused by nonacceptance, assigning blame or any other form of it just keeps us in a noncreative and debilitated state. You are the problem NOT the situation that triggered it. Eventually anything that causes you to feel negativity will have to be accepted or you will carry it into all you do and those you encounter. This is why we practice acceptance and forgiveness. I’m not saying we should enjoy being treated badly or enjoy tragedy but instead we must learn to accept it and even better is when we can appreciate it as a reminder to appreciate the positive. In this way we become a beacon of light for the benefit of all. Each morning I get up I say: Today I choose Love. It’s a choice.

    So I strive to:
    1. Stay present and recenter by realizing breathing requires no effort. Just breathe. I say repeatedly I am Love and I choose Love.
    2. I observe and monitor the thoughts and come back to the present and further I treat my thoughts like I would a child, I say thank you for trying to protect me and I love you.
    3. I go outside and PERCEIVE, I literally drink in the trees the birds, flowers, mountains, ocean, stars. I am careful to not name them and categorize them, I just PERCEIVE and I cast love from my heart toward all I witness. Nature is a great place to recharge and feel Source connection. As Ama said nature is a special place.
    4. I smile and practice sending love from my heart for myself and the benefit of all.
    5. Doing charitable work for others is a strong way to find your balance and benefits you as much as it does those you help. It is not the act of giving bread that is nearly as important as the shared mement of being.
    6. I meditate and go into my sacred place. Meditation is a pure form of revitalization maybe more important than sleep.

    Finally I will say that the word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some super-human accomplishment, and our ego likes to keep it that way. It simply is your natural state of felt oneness with Being. It is the state of connectedness with something immeasurable and it is indestructible, something that paradoxically is essentially you and yet is much greater than you. This is really finding your true nature beyond name and form. When we suffer from the inability to feel this connectedness we feel the illusion of separation from ourselves and the rest of the world around us. I actually love the Buddha’s definition of enlightenment as “the end of suffering.” Being is the eternal ever-present One Life which is beyond the myriad of forms of life. Being is not only beyond it is deep within and can be found in every form as its essence which is invisible to the eye but it is indestructable. We can’t really fully understand it with our mind but we can feel it. To regain awareness of Being and to abide in that state of “feeling-realization” is enlightenment. Our greatest obstacle is our identification of mind we overcome that through observation and centering in the present.

    Blessings Alex!!!

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